I can't believe that it was so long ago that I sat right in front of my television, staring wide-eyed at a live feed from Hattiesburg, Mississippi when Isaiah Fluellen came out of the backfield and into our hearts. I remember the way my jersey clamped down on my arms as I cheered on the Huskers on a toasty afternoon to a school-record-tying eight turnovers against Coach Fran and Texas A&M. Or hey, how about the time I spent all day at work watching one of the finest called games by Frank Solich against Colorado? Seems like only yesterday.
I've been scrolling over the pro rosters and, you know, it does my heart proud to see Demorrio as a Falcon and Jerrell as a Charger. It's what I would imagine parents feel like when their children leave the nest, all grown up and ready to go out on their own. These guys came to the U as boys but left as men. Men to be proud of and to follow with interest and love. Gotta tell ya, first chance I get? #51 Falcons jersey, watch me. They've excelled when they were told they couldn't from all over the country. They've fought so hard and so passionately and they've gotten their just rewards. Sure, they may have new affiliations, but they'll always be ‘Huskers. It's hard to watch Mike Brown or Ahman or Grant without uttering the phrase "I remember when…"
I gotta tell ya, though, sitting here amongst all the hoopla, I can hear it rumbling, I can feel the Earth quake from underneath my size 14 Adidases. It's coming all over again. It's a habit, it can be a nasty one, the lack of college football. We've missed it for months, the crack of pads, the snare of the drums and the WHHHOOOOAAA DOCTOR! I've had a lot of dreams lately. I see myself in different vantage points of Memorial and I wonder, I wonder if dreams do match reality. People say from all the corners of the country that NU is finished. They won't return to the prominence they once had and this whole West Coast Offense thing is a fad, plus Notre Dame couldn't do it, why could Nebraska? I suppose that's why we, as humans, keep records of our shortcomings. So that, hopefully, we can learn from them and correct the mistakes inherent in our decisions.
I've got to really hand it to Callahan and Crew, because as of late, the recruits seem to like what they're saying and what they're offering. Wouldn't you? Come be a legend. Sure, you can go to Southern California or Miami and you can be part of a football team. Come to Nebraska, though, and you can be a legend. Be mentioned in the same breath as Tommie Frazier. Be brought up right next to Tom Novak. The opportunity is there and it's there for the taking, all you have to do is accept the challenge in front of you. Nice message, I can see why it's so easy to sell.
Ever get that feeling? You know the one. You've had it right before every Christmas or your birthday when you were a little one. The idea that, "Oh my gosh, it's almost here again!". Yeah, I get that before football season, call me crazy. I wake up each day lately, look at the calendar and, surprise, it's one step closer to kickoff. Of course, you've got to realize that as a college football fan first, all of these other sports are just secondary to me. Sure, they're fun and sure, I enjoy them, but bring up college football and you've got a conversation that can last you for hours on end. I just can't believe I'm that close towards taking a stroll through UNL's campus all over again.
Still, I can close my eyes and I can almost feel it. The soft wafting of the westerly breeze as it swirls and exits the stadium. The hustle and bustle of fans finding their seats, purchasing their stadium seats and piping hot, fresh Runzas from the young lads and lasses. The snugness that a seat in Memorial Stadium brings and the "How're ya doin'?" to a neighbor you just met. The clapping to the band songs, all a distraction for a moment until that drone. That ohhhh so familiar drone. The kind that send goose bumps up my legs and cause the Big Red Masses to cheer and howl as a wild animal would. The clapping, oh that joyous clapping, and the walk, the red and white-clad supermen, the boys that would become our family once again each and every fall. It's hard not to want it, it's hard not to be there even now, so close as we are.
Then I snap back to reality, here and now, and I think about what's to be and what's yet to come. All of the memories to be forged, all of the passion to be spilled upon the turf once more and all of the ideas to hash and rehash all over again. I can only imagine what it'll be like to be back there again, even though I've been there before. It never loses the luster, folks, and I doubt it ever will. There is no place like Nebraska, you know, where we're all true blue. We all stick together, in all kinds of weather for Dear Old Nebraska U. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Questions, commentary and where you went for summer vacation can be sent toBlankman71@cox.net
===Brandon a.k.a. Blankman #71===